Our final thoughts on the best and brightest film of 2016…
5. Hell or High Water – Here’s a dreamy little crime story for the list. This one completely won me over back in September.
“It may lack lots of CGI and big set pieces but this is an extraordinary film. It has tension, heart, humour and the kind of complex characters that make you want to know more about them. I would go so far as to say that this is one of the best films of the year to date and a must see for anyone who loves good cinema.”
4. Captain Fantastic – This one almost inspired me to go live in the wilderness, but then I remembered there was no Wi-Fi there! Emily Elphinstone on Captain Fantastic back in May.
“Writer/Director Matt Ross (better known as Gavin Belson in Silicon Valley) refuses to play the extremes of clashing ideology for laughs, instead giving understanding to both sides equally rather than issuing judgement. This leaves the audience space to consider the complexities of belief systems, modern living, and raising children, without attempting black and white answers. With echoes of Little Miss Sunshine, the film balances a refreshingly original independent movie story, with stunning production values from cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine (A Prophet) editor Joseph Krings, and production designer Russell Barnes. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but mostly importantly you’ll be thinking and talking about it long after. With the number of new releases nowadays it is often hard to find one that will truly stick in the mind; but Ross’s film certainly lives up to the title. Fantastic.”
3. American Honey – This one split the critics down the middle, and certainly our Fran didn’t like it much! I saw it in October and my mind was thoroughly blown! The film is one of the best road movies to grace our screens in recent years and captures a wildness that is rarely seen. You feel like you are packed into the back of the van with the rest of those wild youths! Director Andrea Arnold is best known for Fish Tank, but this is even better!
2. Paterson – Jim Jarmusch creates a world where there is no racial tension and where bus drivers write poetry. Was I the only one that was reminded of Northern Exposure? Quite possibly. Here is Frnak L on it in November.
“This undemonstrative, carefully observed slice of domesticity is memorable for its gentleness with much fine camera work including trays of cupcakes and cheerio cereal in a black and white bowl. Jarmusch, who also wrote the script, has created a fine film which records the everyday life of a bus driver in Paterson, the third largest city in New Jersey. It is a triumph of the intimate, the domestic and the personal.”
1. Victoria – Can I really give a film best of the year because of the logistics? When they’re this good, yes. Hard to believe they did it, but it’s there for all to see. One take, and it’s almost perfect! Here is Frank L in March.
“This suspenseful film was shot in one continuous take on 27th April 2014 between 04.30 and 07.00. Sebastian Schipper rightly honours this achievement by placing the name of Sturla Brandth Grovlen, the director of photography, at the top of the credits. According to Schipper in an interview there were two earlier shootings with which he was not entirely satisfied. The third shooting was the last one and had to work. Underlying the film and the performance of the actors, particularly Laia Costa, Frederick Lau and Franz Rogowski, there is an immediacy that is compelling as all must have known that this last shoot had to work. Given that there are action filled scenes of people clambering up and down stairs and a car chase, not to mention a shoot-out, the camera work is inspired and it is finely assisted by Schipper’s direction. Victoria captures “Real Berlin”. Go see it.”